Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) and Tenants Fees
Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP)
All tenancy deposits MUST be paid into an approved government Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme, there are three schemes available:
- Deposit Protection Service
- My Deposits
- Tenancy Deposit Scheme
If the tenants’ deposit is not protected under one of these schemes, the tenant may be able to take action against their landlord who could be liable to pay back three times the cost of the deposit. A court may also decide that the tenant does not have to leave the property when the tenancy ends if the landlord hasn't used a tenancy deposit scheme when they should have.
If a tenant needs help with a deposit for an essential move they may be eligible for a Discretionary Housing Payment. To check if you are eligible or to apply contact the Housing Benefits Team on 01908 253040 or by email.
Tenants Fees Act
The Tenants Fees Act 2019 prohibits landlords and agents from charging any fees to tenants other than those permitted under the act. The only payments in connection with a tenancy that a tenant can be asked to make are:
- a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than 5 weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is less than £50,000, or 6 weeks’ rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above
- a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than 1 week’s rent
- payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant
- payments for the variation, assignment or novation of a tenancy, capped at £50 (or reasonably incurred costs, if higher)
- payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and Council Tax
- payments in the event of a default, such as for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device giving access to the housing, where required under a tenancy agreement
If the payment a landlord or agent is charging is not on this list then it is not lawful, and a landlord or agent should not ask the tenant to pay it.
If a landlord or agent has charged a prohibited payment, they could face a financial penalty of up to £30,000. A landlord cannot evict a tenant using the section 21 eviction procedure until the landlord has repaid any unlawfully charged fees or returned an unlawfully retained holding deposit. All other rules around the application of the section 21 evictions procedure will continue to apply.
If a tenant has been asked to pay a fee which is not lawful, the tenant should report this to Trading Standards who can investigate and fine the landlord or agent. Repeat offenders may be prosecuted or banned from letting properties in the future. Another option is to complain to a letting agent redress scheme. All agents must belong to a redress scheme, who can investigate and tell the agent to compensate or apologise.
Please note: this guidance applies to England only. For more information please see: Tenant Fees Act 2019: Guidance on the GOV.UK site
Last Updated: 17 June 2021